The Never Give Up Franchise Player
Really, now. Who ever saw John Cena coming? When he debuted on SmackDown in June 2002, he was just a beefy guy in purple trunks. Within a year of his introduction, he transformed into the battle-rapping, chain-wielding “Doctor of Thuganomics.” Now, he’s the biggest star in WWE — but he’s also the most polarizing.
Fans love him or hate him. There’s no middle ground, and that’s the power of John Cena. Whatever you think of The Champ, there’s no denying his actions impact everything and everyone around him. Sure, he has his detractors, and they’re vocal, but Cena is still easily the most admired competitor in WWE, as evidenced by his nine million–plus Facebook followers. Cenation is strong. And its message is spreading. Whether competing in the squared circle, performing in front of the camera or donating time to charitable organizations like Make-A-Wish, The Champ is there.
A product of West Newbury, Mass., John Cena discovered sports and weightlifting in his teens. He attended Springfield College, where he earned a degree in exercise physiology and excelled as a Division III All-American offensive lineman. Although he grew up a huge fan of such Superstars as Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior, Cena only seriously considered becoming one himself while working the counter at Gold’s Gym in Venice, Calif. There, a wrestler-in-training encouraged him to enroll in class to learn the ropes. From day one, he was hooked.
A year later, Cena was signed by WWE to a developmental contract. What did he have that others didn’t? A physique that looked as though it were formed from Portland cement, mic skills that would shame a Roman senator, the tireless perseverance of Superman, and a devastating move that could turn even the most cast-iron grapplers into bags of mulch.
Throughout the past decade, Cena has amassed many honors, most notably an amazing 10 WWE Championships and two World Heavyweight Titles. The year 2012 has been something of a mixed bag for the Superstar — he suffered what many consider to be his greatest defeat, losing to The Rock at WrestleMania XXVIII, and became the first Superstar to unsuccessfully cash in a Money in the Bank contract.
John Cena doesn’t dwell on the past, however; he’s focused solely on the future. Locked in a struggle with CM Punk over the WWE Title, the Cenation leader has had to deal with controversial officiating, a serious elbow injury that put him out of action and accusations that a business dinner between him and former Raw General Manager AJ Lee was more than just a “dinner.”
In the midst of the heated scandal, Cena unsuccessfully challenged for the WWE Championship once again when he battled both The Straight Edge Champion and the destructive Ryback at Survivor Series. As always, the WWE Universe can certainly expect the Cenation leader to continue charging into battle, equipped with the simple yet resounding mission statement he’s had since day one: hustle, loyalty and respect.